Opera Scotland

Dido and Aeneas 1978Scottish Opera

Read more about the opera Dido and Aeneas

This masterpiece of compression by Purcell was given its only staging by Scottish Opera in rather special circumstances. Dame Janet Baker was known to have turned down invitations to sing opera outside the UK, being unwilling to spend the weeks in an unfamiliar organisation that this would entail. Her only previous exception had been for the 1976 exchange between Covent Garden and La Scala, when she had performed Vitellia in Anthony Besch's excellent production of La clemenza di Tito at the Milan house. However she agreed to take part in this co-production between Scottish Opera and Aix-en-Provence.

The conductor Charles Mackerras was one of her favourite colleagues, but had never worked with Scottish Opera before. The director John Copley had rarely worked in Scotland, though, again, he had worked frequently with Baker.

After the summer visit to the south of France, the staging entered the Theatre Royal season. The original plan was to precede it with Holst's chamber opera Savitri, with Janet Baker in the title role. At a late stage the evening was expanded to a triple bill by inserting Edward Harper's recently premiered short piece, Fanny Robin, derived from works by Thomas Hardy, between the Holst and the Purcell.


Scottish Opera's 1978-79 season

Scottish Opera's fourth season at the Theatre Royal (1978-79) opened with Simon Boccanegra, and continued with JenůfaCatiline Conspiracy then an unusual triple-bill of SavitriFanny Robin and Dido and Aeneas. Next came SeraglioRosenkavalierHansel and GretelFledermausMidsummer Night's DreamBohèmeKátya Kabanová and Rigoletto. In June there followed the company's first staging of a musical, Fiddler on the Roof. Many of these works were also toured.

Performance Cast

Belinda a lady in waiting

Norma Burrowes (Aix)

Nan Christie (Gla)

Dido Queen of Carthage

Janet Baker (Exc Jul 25, 28)

Jane Rhodes (Jul 25, 28)

Second Lady

Susanna Ross

Aeneas a Trojan prince

Alan Titus (Aix)

John Shirley-Quirk (Gla)


Claire Livingstone

First Witch

Marie Slorach

Second Witch

Linda Ormiston

Spirit in the form of Mercury

Paul Esswood (Aix)

Tom Emlyn Williams (Gla)


Dennis O'Neill

Performance DatesDido and Aeneas 1978

Map List

Théâtre de l' Archeveché | Aix-en-Provence

20 Jul, 20.00 21 Jul, 20.00 23 Jul, 20.00 25 Jul, 20.00 28 Jul, 20.00

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

15 Nov, 19.15 18 Nov, 19.15 21 Nov, 19.15 23 Nov, 19.15

© Copyright Opera Scotland 2024

Site by SiteBuddha